Director: Thatchaphong Suphasri
Writers: Apichet Kamphu, Kiat Songsanant
Bota (Ranchrawee Uakoolwarawat) went through the diary of her mother Dalah that recounted her 1967 love affair with a shy writer named Kajorn (Thitipoom Techaapaikhun), complicated by his best friend Tanil who was also courting her. Bota used this story to write a romantic play which will star the campus heartthrob Non (Gee Sutthirak Subvijitra), who just happened to be her crush as well as the crush of her best friend Poppy (Meiko Chonnikan Netjui).
This Thai film is a remake of a 2003 South Korean film called "The Classic" which starred Son Ye-jin (of "Crash Landing on You" fame). From the get-go, this movie gave such positive vibes, it was impossible not to give in to its charms. I did not know any of the young actors in the cast but they were all attractive and smiling so brightly, such that it was not difficult to like them all. While there were some overly sentimental scenes or contrived plot points, this was generally feel-good and wholesome, a very pleasant watch with generous doses of sweet romantic thrills. The beautiful Ranchrawee Uakoolwarawat gave such distinctive portrayals of Bota and her mother Dalah, you'd think two actresses had played them.
ONE-WAY TO TOMORROW
Director: Ozan Açiktan
Writers: Drazen Kuljanin, Faruk Ozerten
By chance, a young man Ali (Metin Akdülger) and a young woman Leyla (Dilan Çiçek Deniz) share a private compartment on a train going from Ankara to Izmir. After some initial hesitation, the two strike up a conversation. They discovered that they were both on their way to attend the same wedding. They both tell their stories about the reason why they were attending, and in the process get to know each other quite well.
This was a very talky Turkish movie, the whole story happening only one night on a train. Accidental seatmates Ali and Leyla just go from one topic to another, much like Jesse and Celine did in "Before Sunrise." Once you get into the drift of their conversation, this was not actually as boring as it may sound. The two lead actors Akdulger and former Miss Universe-Turkey 2014 Deniz both gave engaging portrayals which make you care about who they are and what they were about to do. There could have been ways to expand the story some more but the director decide to keep things between the two of them, which limited his options towards the end. I imagine it would have been more interesting to see their past experiences actually played out on screen than just heard in conversation.
Director: Greg Barker
Writers: Craig Borten, based Samantha Power's book "Chasing the Flame: One Man's Fight to Save the World"
In 2003 after the US invasion of Iraq, United Nations' Special Representative Sérgio de Mello (Wagner Moura) was in Baghdad to assure human rights were maintained during their transition to true independence. One day, their hotel headquarters was bombed and Sergio trapped in the basement. While awaiting to be rescued, Sergio thought back to how he met and fell in love with Carolina (Ana de Armas) three months earlier in East Timor when he represented the UN during their revolution, and she was a member of his staff.
I first met Wagner Moura when he played a charismatic Cuban pilot and defector in "Wasp Network" just recently. Using that same charisma, Moura played another charming real-life gentleman, the titular Sergio, in this film. In "Wasp," his wife was played by Ana de Armas, who also played his mistress here. I was interested more in the parts about his work as a UN Special Representative, than in those parts about his relationship with Carolina. I felt that this love story angle distracted from the more intriguing and challenging UN diplomatic experiences and decisions of Sergio which could have been told in more detail.
This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."